Visigoth is a named often dropped in regards to what is colloquially known as the Traditional Metal Revival, or the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal. Those who adhere to this movement - if it can so be called - have no intention of breaking new ground in terms of style or sound, but rather to conjure the greats of the eighties, and playing the same style, not seldom strictly by the book. Oftentimes it has resulted in a band much identical in sound to those who inspired them - and they are lauded for it. All this in the pursuit of striving ever backwards in a genre where the greats of old are still very much alive, kicking and releasing great music. And despite that obviously bleak introduction, Visigoth showed some promise on albeit rather dull The Revenant King, released three years ago. But here’s the twist. As a follow up, sophomore full length Conqueror’s Oath manages to deliver where the debut could not.
The Revenant King did sport a few growers in the track list, as well as some slick guitar work and an admittedly dense and immersive atmosphere. Still, the album did not manage to stick with me, and it seems at first glance that Conqueror’s Oath might prove me wrong about Visigoth. Sure enough, the album does kick off on the right note with Steel And Silver, a pounding march hymn complete with blistering lead guitar work straight out of the gate. Most of the material on here has been scaled down from the eight to ten minute opuses found on the debut. This downsizing works in its favor as the music becomes more accessible and airy. It might be argued that the music has been simplified, but that isn’t really the case. Visigoth sound more focused as they deliver an album steeped in fun and groovy rhythms hearkening back to the glory days of old in a way that sounds genuinely inspired, and not like copy-paste.
Jamison Palmer and Leeland Campana’s driving rhythms and sometimes noodling and always tingly lead guitars drive the music ever onward with interesting hooks and driven focus. Be it the fleshy riff work in opener Steel And Silver, the epic melodies of Hammerforged or the swift thrashiness of Salt City, the guitars take massive precedence, though always leaving enough room for a massive bass sound from Matthew Brown Brotheron. Vocalist Jake Rogers bellows with a big, impressive voice, ready for battle and truly makes up all the difference in what makes this sophomore effort a genuinely good album, as compared to the lackluster debut. Conqueror’s Oath is a fun and invigorating album, and thanks to the lyrical content still revolving around epic battles and the forging of steel rather than parties and booze, it keeps its freshness about it, landing along the same place as Eternal Armor’s debut album The Armor Of Ire (2016), and actually manages to be a thrill seeking exploration of metal rather than an overlong plodding of the same old-same old.
Standout tracks: Steel And Silver, Traitor’s Gate, Salt City